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Reports conflict on Bucs Jameis Winston being suspended 3-4 games

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Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

We continue to wonder what kind of punishment, if at all, the NFL will Levy against Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston for the alleged incident that happened with a female Uber driver in March of 2016 in Arizona.

Now, a Tallahassee radio host talked about Wednesday afternoon what he claims is insight into the situation. And, if what he was saying on the radio is true, the Buccaneers and Winston are looking at a multiple game suspension. However, there is now conflicting information about the radio report.

First, Jeff Cameron is the radio personality in Tallahassee that made the claims on his afternoon show Wednesday. For some background, Cameron station is the ESPN Radio affiliate in the market and he has been on radio in Tallahassee for more than 15 years.

Cameron also has a close relationship with Winston, his family, and circle a friends/advisors. So much so, that Cameron was invited to be at Jameis Winston’s personal draft party in Alabama the night the Bucs took him #1 overall in April of 2015.

Here is in part what Cameron said on the radio show Wednesday afternoon about what he says the Winston Camp is saying to him (an important distinction) about what they expect to happen:

“The Winston camp is prepared for the NFL to levy a suspension of some kind,” Cameron said. “The thought from the Winston camp is that would be a maximum of three games. I do not know at this time whether or not they plan to appeal, and I do not know that three games is an accurate number. I’ve been told that would seem to be the maximum number of games that the suspension could be. It’s also likely that it’s less than that and it’s one game.”

Again pay close attention to “the thought from the Winston camp.”

That doesn’t necessarily mean it is what will happen. And oftentimes advisors, lawyers agents, etc. prepare the person they’re representing for the worst. So, that part lines up with what could happen.

Furthermore, and this is important, Winston claims there is a witness not only that what went on, but that witness, his former FSU teammate and now Philadelphia Eagle, Ronald Darby, is the one that was actually in the front seat with the Arizona female Uber driver in March of 2016.

As we have been writing and reporting, you have to believe by now the NFL has taken Winston statement and the his side of the story. And further, you have to believe that they’ve at least spoken to Darby by now about his involvement or what he saw happen or didn’t happen.

Now, on the point about Winston being in jeopardy for “failure to report to the NFL.” Cameron talked about this on the Wednesday radio show. And, the NFL obviously could suspend Winston for a game for that reason. And, that may very well be what the NFL eventually does later this summer.

While the female Uber driver filed a report with Uber, she never filed criminal or civil complaints against Winston. Still, Uber believed the driver enough that they elected to ban Winston from their service for life.

He knew that there had been an accusation, had been banned and he appealed that with Uber eventually denying his appeal.

So, if the NFL wants to rule that he should have told them about what was going on and that’s a violation of the personal conduct policy, they have grounds for that.

However, as Rick Stroud, who is the longtime 25 year Buccaneer beat writer for the Tampa Bay Times, was pointing out on social media Wednesday night:  he believes “failure to report” does not rise to the level of a multiple game suspension

Instead, the multiple game suspension would come from the NFL having evidence of some kind of verification of the accuser story and what Winston, actually did.

Here is another report from a Bucs themed website that claims to have been speaking to what they say is “a league source.” And that source, tells the site that pieces of the story on both sides don’t add up.

And therefore the NFL is in the middle of a “she said-he said” situation and trying to figure out who to believe.

This brings us back at the likelihood that Winston would, at most, be suspended a game or the NFL may do nothing at all standing behind that they could not substantiate what she told them.

Another important point that we have raised previously is: we do not know how cooperative the accuser has been and all of this.

And. the NFL is doing a disservice to everyone, including Winston and the Buccaneers, the longer they continue to drag this out, at now 10 months and counting.

The Buccaneers are slated to open the regular season at New Orleans and then will play in week 2 in their home opener against the Eagles. If you’re wondering what the third game Winston would potentially miss according to this report? It’s a Monday night home showdown with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Also, it’s important to note that even if there’s a suspension of any kind/length, Winston will still participate in training camp and preseason games before the hypothetical suspension would take place in the regular season.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Buccaneers cornerstone player in 2018?

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Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

(This is the first look at all three state NFL teams’ roster and identifying a player that we at F.F.I. believe is the foundation starter for their potential success in 2018)

It’s still a couple of weeks before the Buccaneers gather for training camp at One Buc Place and there’s already uncertainty everywhere. Off a disappointing showing down the stretch with a 5-11 finish in 2017, both head coach Dirk Koetter and GM Jason Licht were already feeling warmth under their seats.

Now, the perceived team leader, QB Jameis Winston, is suspended for the first three games of the season for violation of the NFL personal conduct policy. And, this has called into question whether he Winston is going to be on borrowed time himself, once he comes back.

So, who is the player that the Bucs will look to for leadership, stability and to help them get through tough times this year? Well, it’s not clear cut in Tampa Bay, but we have a strong guess.

If we are talking cornerstone player for 2018, we are talking yearly Pro Bowl DT Gerald McCoy.

The reasons are apparent.

McCoy has tenure in the Bucs locker room and has played at the high level for the past six seasons (under three different head coaches) and made the Pro Bowl in each one.

Most importantly, he provides a veteran presence to what is an uncertain situation.

And with the additions of former Eagles DE Vinny Curry in free agency, a trade for Giants Pro Bowler and Superbowl champion Jason Pierre Paul and the drafting of Washington All American DT Vita Vea in the first round, McCoy has more help than at any point in his career.

This means the former #1 pick out of Oklahoma will have a chance to excel, especially right away, this season.

Sure, the Bucs have a “franchise receiver” in Mike Evans, and gave him a huge extension in March. And they have one of the top star defenders in the NFL that few on the national level talk much about in LB LaVonte David.

However, with Winston’s future with the Buccaneers uncertain, Gerald McCoy is the guy to count on for this and the next few seasons.

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Hall of Fame WR Randy mentoring Bucs QB Jameis Winston in Tampa

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Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Controversy has followed Jameis Winston throughout his college and NFL careers and now, former controversial NFL star receiver turned ESPN analyst Randy Moss, is trying to help.

As you probably know by now, the Bucs QB is suspended for the first three games this season by the NFL for violation of the personal conduct policy after he inappropriately touched a female Uber driver in Arizona in 2016. It’s the latest in a long line of personal missteps and problems that have dogged Winston off the field, since his days at Florida State.

Meanwhile, Moss, who will be enshrined at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, OH, later this month, has been in Tampa recently working with and apparently trying to help mentor Winston.

Tampa TV station, Fox 13 and reporter Kevin O’Donnell, got exclusive comments from Moss on helping Winston on Tuesday:

“He’s doing things right,” Moss told the station.  “It’s a bump in the road…Man, just continue to fight. It happens…. What he did was wrong. You know. I’m not saying right or wrong. There was a woman involved. So, I’m not going to get into all of that. What he did was wrong. He know (sic) it was wrong. So, I think it’s up to him as a man to understand what he did wrong….to live and learn from it and let it go.”

Moss had early controversies and arrests in his own college career, as he was denied entry at Notre Dame and later kicked off the FSU football team while red-shirting for arrests and probation violations that led him to being back behind bars.

He later thrived at Marshall University, was a Heisman Trophy Finalist, a first round pick by the Vikings and had a 14 year career as one of the most explosive NFL receivers of all time. Moss, who caught for 1,000 or more yards in 10 NFL seasons and is second all time with 156 TD receptions, was voted into the Hall of Fame (above) in his first time on the ballot back in January.

Winston was shown by the station running sprints and making throws to some other prospective NFL receivers at the workout Tuesday, but refused to talk on camera. He has not spoken publicly, since the NFL suspended him two weeks ago. He told the station he will talk at Bucs training camp later in July.

As for Moss, he further said Tuesday that he’s trying to give Winston and other young players advice from his own experiences and failures off the field.

“One of the things that I always told my people: ‘Don’t be scared or shy to tell me no, because I check my pride in at the door….I’ll thank you later, you know, when I’m not behind bars, or when I’m still on a football team.” Moss continued, “A lot of these guys don’t realize that they’re being watched under a microscope and they don’t realize it until it happens to them and they’re out of  job.”

At this point, the fourth year Bucs QB Winston, has to realize that he is on the verge of being out of a job in Tampa. That’s if he doesn’t respond well from the suspension by staying out of trouble and performing well on the field.

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New Bucs DE Jason Pierre Paul still great reminder of July 4th safety

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Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

The Buccaneers are excited to see what former USF and New York Giants star Jason Pierre-Paul can do on the field in Tampa Bay this fall. After being acquired in a trade with the G-men in March, Pierre Paul hopes to energize an almost non-existent Bucs pass rush from last year.

One thing is for sure, as much as he’s known for being a star on the field, Pierre Paul has become a reminder of “what not to do” and specifically fireworks safety on July 4th.

It was three years ago Wednesday night that Pierre Paul’s decision to celebrate and ignite amateur hand-held fireworks in South Florida led to a horrific and potentially, career threatening right hand injury.

But, out of what could have been football tragedy involving his  hand, Pierre-Paul has made a comeback and is now a national PSA symbol for firework safety.

The beginning of Pierre Paul’s football story is the Deerfield Beach, as a native of Hatian immigrant parents playing  as a Juco star in both California and Kansas. Then, he was brought back to Florida, by coach Jim Leavitt and staff, as USF’s dominant pass rusher in 2009. That year he attained All Big East honors with 6.5 sacks and 16.5 tackles for loss for the Bulls.

This fast tracked Pierre Paul to the NFL after only one season in Tampa and he was drafted 15th overall by the Giants in the 2010 NFL Draft.

After a rookie year with 4.5 sacks, he burst on the pro scene in season two with 16.5 sacks for the G-men leading to a Pro Bowl selection and was part of the New York Superbowl victory over the Patriots that February.

Pierre-Paul continued to be regarded as the Giants most consistent pass rushing threat and had another double digit sack season with 12.5 in 2014.

Then came the off season of 2015, where he chose not to sign his one year Franchise Player free agent tender (the Giants still had his exclusive rights) seeking a longer term deal. And, he remained unsigned as of July 4th that year.

That night in 2015 he loaded up a van with handheld amateur fireworks and with friends and neighbors began shooting them off until one obviously malfunctioned and mangled his right hand. Pierre-Paul was hospitalized and eventually had multiple surgeries on the hand and his right index finger amputated.

The Giants stood by him, when they could have dumped him for non-football injury, and he eventually made his way back onto the field in November of 2015. Signing a “pro rated” week to week one year deal, his debut came as New York traveled to Raymond James Stadium (Pierre-Paul’s USF home for a season) and he played with a padded “club” protecting his right hand against the Bucs.

He would play in eight total games that season with one sack and then, as further proof of the Giants being in his corner, they re-signed him on a one year $10 million deal for 2016. Pierre-Paul then worked a year ago with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission on a July 4th fireworks safety video:

The gnarly image and video of Pierre-Pauls right hand is obviously the deterrent the agency is looking for with the PSA campaign about safety. He played 2016 with a special padded glove to protect the hand/fingers registering another seven sacks before being placed on I.R. with a sports hernia.

Finally, and happiest of all financial endings after the fireworks disaster, Pierre-Paul inked a four year $62 million deal with $40 million guaranteed in March of last year to stay, so he thought, in New York.

Alas, the Giants had a nightmare of a 2017 season that finished at 3-13. Pierre-Paul had a solid season with 8.5 sacks and 68 total tackles despite the dismal team finish.
Then, Bucs GM Jason Licht swung the deal for Pierre-Paul and Tampa Bay agreed to assume his $12.1 million dollar salary for 2018.

So, while it all worked out in the end, obviously, the Jason Pierre-Paul July 4th fireworks mess could have had a much different ending all the way around for he, the Giants and now, the Bucs.

It’s a reminder to stay safe Wednesday night. Leave the handheld fireworks to someone else.

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